For the first four placements (usually referred to as "core placements"), placement allocation meetings of the Clinical Director, relevant members of the Placement Development and Implementation Group, and the Programme Assistant - Placements take place approximately six weeks before the scheduled start of placements (for intercalating trainees this will be more a bespoke, case by case process). The purpose of these meetings is to provide the best match between placement and trainee learning needs. The decisions made at this meeting are also influenced by concerns such as geography and domestic situation, though meeting trainee learning needs by finding the best placement to do that is the paramount concern of these meetings. All relevant information such as that contained within previous SAT forms and log books are considered at this meeting.
Third year placements
Allocation to third year placements is more bespoke to the learning and development needs of each trainee. This is because trainees will have had learning outcomes (aimed at the acquisition of core competencies) through their first four placements. If any of these outcomes have not been obtained (and trainees are therefore not yet able to demonstrate sufficient competence in a particular domain), it is important for this to be addressed during the fifth placement. Many kinds of third year placement are likely to be suitable for this. In addition, this final placement is an opportunity for trainees to build on skills acquired during the first two years of training. This might be in the context of a different placement setting, for example, in a forensic, or a neuropsychology setting. Alternatively, it might be in a location where supervisors, who often provide "core" placements, offer trainees additional types of work (for example, where opportunities to provide consultation are offered by a supervisor who usually would offer direct therapeutic work to trainees on earlier placements). In addition, the programme is looking to develop opportunities for this experience to broaden in scope and breadth for some trainees, for example potentially occurring in non-traditional (e.g. 3rd sector, community focused) settings or undertaking work designed to meet competencies relevant to the evolving role of a clinical psychologist (e.g. service development and design work).
In terms of planning processes, trainees are expected to start thinking about possible third year placements in the autumn of their second year of training. A third year placement showcase day will form part of the autumn curriculum and will allow trainees the opportunity to consider in depth the range of learning and development opportunities open to them in their final year. Each trainee will also have an individual meeting with their designated clinical tutor to discuss their placement preferences, which they are asked to communicate to the clinical tutor organizing third year placements by the December of the second year. This tutor will then review all expressed preferences, and give trainees permission to contact potential placement supervisors for discussion about the service and types of opportunity on offer there. They are asked to make clear that any such approach is tentative, and does not guarantee their allocation to this placement. After a period of information gathering by trainees, final preferences are submitted to the organizing clinical tutor, and these preferences are then considered with the clinical team and with the staff of the Manchester and Liverpool programmes (with whom these placement allocations are coordinated). Final allocations to placements are made in by the lead clinical tutor for this activity within the Placement Policy group, in liaison with the other local courses, and also coordinating requests from trainees across the cohort, to ensure all trainees' learning needs are met.
Third year placements are typically in the North West region. Any requests for out of area placements are only agreed in exceptional circumstances, and must be made to the Clinical Director.